LAMAVE supportS the Government of the Philippines at #CMSCOP12 in Manila

October 25 2017, We are proud to support the Government of the Philippines at the Twelfth Session of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS COP12) being held in Manila, the Philippines.

This is the first time the CMS COP has been held in Asia and will be the largest wildlife summit this year, with over 500 delegates from more than 120 countries. Held every three years the CMS COP brings together States through which migratory animals pass and lays the legal foundation for internationally coordinated conservation measures. This year, the theme of the Conference is ‘Their Future is Our Future - Sustainable Development for Wildlife and People’ and reflects the intrinsic link between the world’s wildlife and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

As hosts, the Government of the Philippines has put forward several listing proposals including placing the whale shark on Appendix I and the white-spotted wedgefish on Appendix II. Appendix I lists migratory species that are endangered, while Appendix II lists migratory species which have an unfavourable conservation status and which require international agreements for their conservation and management.  It also includes species whose conservation status would significantly benefit from the international cooperation that could be achieved by an international agreement. 

LAMAVE has been working closely with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the rest of the Government of the Philippines throughout 2017 in the lead up to CMS COP12, with particular emphasis on the proposal to list the whale shark on Appendix I. The Philippines has protected the whale shark since 1998 and currently hosts the largest known aggregation of whale sharks in South East Asia, with over 1100 individual whale sharks identified using photo-ID. In 2016 the whale shark was up-listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species from vulnerable to endangered. The status change came after a report led by Dr Simon Pierce, of Marine Megafauna Foundation (MMF) and the IUCN Shark Specialist Group which included whale shark research completed by LAMAVE and MMF in the Philippines. 

Earlier today the CMS aquatic working group supported the proposal of the listing of the whale shark in Appendix I and the attached concerted actions, further emphasising the Philippines as a leader in whale shark conservation. Ratification will happen tomorrow morning, Thursday the 26th of October, when the document will be made official. This is a great step towards sustainable tourism with whale sharks worldwide. 

To quote the CMS COP theme, "Their future is our future"